AVOD Service Crackle Plus Announces June Lineup

Crackle Plus, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and operator of advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) streaming services, announced content planned for June.

New Crackle AVOD Exclusives in June include:

  • “A Life In 10 Pictures #1 — Freddy Mercury,” in which Freddie Mercury, lead singer of Queen, one of the most iconic bands in rock and roll history, reveals his life in ten pictures, from iconic shots to private snaps;
  • “In the Vault — Season One,” in which freshman Liv Steele (Claudia Lee) arrives at Woodlawn College excited for a fresh start, but will her past catch up with her?; and
  • “Hollywood Bulldogs: The Rise and Falls of the Great British Stuntman,” which tells the story of the small community of British stunt performers who went on to dominate Hollywood in the 1970s and 1980s.

 

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In addition to access to four seasons of “Sherlock,” Crackle Plus is offering new series from the BBC library every month. This month’s lineup includes:

  • “Ivanhoe,” a miniseries in which young Saxon knight returns to England from fighting in the Crusades to find he had been disinherited by his father, his childhood sweetheart has been betrothed to another man and the country is in the midst of an uprising;
  • “Jane Eyre,” a TV series about a young governess who falls in love with her brooding and complex master; and
  • Byron, a feature film about the famous poet starring Jonny Lee Miller.

 

New channels coming to Crackle in June include:

  • Celebrating Pride, including Wedding Wars (John Stamos, Eric Dane), Breakfast on Pluto (Cillian Murphy, Liam Neeson), the Crackle original reality series “Men of West Hollywood” (Justin Jedlica, Brennen Taylor) and Two Mothers for Zachary (Valerie Bertinelli, Vanessa Redgrave);
  • Prehistoric Beasts, featuring “Dinotopia” (Katie Carr, Wentworth Miller), The Lost World (Bob Hoskins, Peter Falk), Behemoth (Ed Quinn, Pascale Hutton) and Godzilla vs Destoroyah (Megumi Odaka, Yōko Ishino);
  • Ways of the West, featuring Western titles like “Bonanza” (Michael Landon, Dan Blocker), The Shadow Riders (Sam Elliott, Tom Selleck), “The Outcasts” (Otis Young, Don Murray) and The Man from Laramie (James Stewart, Cathy O’Donnell);
  • Crimes and Capers, featuring Law Abiding Citizen (Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx), Killing Them Softly (Brad Pitt, James Gandolfini), American Animals (Evan Peters, Barry Keoghan) and Midnight Express (Brad Davis, John Hurt); and
  • The Sixties, featuring “The Flying Nun” (Sally Field, Alejandro Rey), To Sir, with Love (Sidney Poitier, Lulu), Under the Yum-Yum Tree (Jack Lemmon, Carol Lynley) and Bye Bye Birdie (Dick Van Dyke, Ann-Margret).

 

New to Crackle Spotlight in June are Harry Styles: Live in Manchester, The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3, Peggy Sue Got Married, Edge of Tomorrow, Scream 4, the Canadian sketch comedy series “The Kids in the Hall,” the TV series “Hardcastle and McCormick,” Hannibal Rising, Judy (Renee Zellweger), Hunt for the Wilderpeople, The Man from Laramie and Behind the Moment.

The Crackle Plus streaming services are currently distributed through 70 touch points in the United States on platforms including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and Xbox One), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com, with previously announced plans to expand to over 90 touch points.

AVOD Distributor ‘Chicken Soup for the Soul’ Ups Q3 Revenue, Loss

Chicken Soup for the Soul, owner operator of ad-supported VOD platforms Crackle, Crackle Plus and Popcornflix, among others, reported a 50% increase in revenue for the third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) to $29.1 million, compared with revenue of $19.4 million during the previous-year period. The tally also marked a 31.6% improvement over the second quarter.

Net loss from operations increased more than 28% to $16.7 million, compared with a loss of $13 million a year earlier.

In the quarter, the distributor announced the initial launch of a branded Chicken Soup for the Soul ad-supported streaming video platform in select international markets.

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“We are seeing momentum in our AVOD networks, highlighted by viewership growth at Crackle and strong growth at Popcornflix since our September relaunch,” CEO William Rouhana said in a statement.

Rouhana said the company continues to focus AVOD network distribution, in addition to expanding original, exclusive content and backend streaming tech assets.

“With the initial launch of our Chicken Soup for the Soul streaming service, as well overall ad impression growth at Crackle Plus, consolidation of our television production activities, Screen Media Ventures’ growing lineup of acquired films, and our recent international partnership and acquisition activity, we are poised to accelerate execution of our strategy into 2022,” Rouhana said.

OTT.X Adds Two New Board Seats, Appoints Amagi’s Srinivasan Ka and Crackle’s Philippe Guelton

OTT.X on Oct. 28 announced two new board seats on the trade group’s board of directors, going to Amagi co-founder Srinivasan KA and Crackle president Philippe Guelton.

“These additions display our continued growth alongside the entire OTT industry,” said Mark Fisher, OTT.X president and CEO. “And I am sure that each director will bring an important perspective, wealth of experience, and desire for growth benefiting our continued mission of connecting and nurturing the OTT ecosystem enabling innovation, collaboration, and competition.”

KA and Guelton will broaden the 17-member OTT.X board’s representation across all segments of its community, OTT.X says.

The appointments are effective immediately. Directors will serve until the annual OTT.X organizational board meeting in 2023.

Crackle Announces Second Season of ‘Going From Broke’ From Ashton Kutcher, Among Other New Programming

Crackle Plus, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company and one of the largest operators of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) networks, May 28 announced the upcoming content releases planned for June, which include the second season of Ashton Kutcher-produced “Going From Broke.”

The Webby Award-winning unscripted series focused on empowering people to overcome their crippling financial struggles. People are graduating from college with mounds of student and other debt and a shrinking pool of employment opportunities at their disposal. What makes matters worse is they lack the basic financial literacy to get themselves out of trouble, according to the series. Series host Dan Rosensweig, CEO of Chegg, and financial expert Tonya Rapley work with young people to become the CEO of their own lives and finances.

Other originals include:

  • “Promiseland” follows NBA rookie Ja Morant as he navigates the perils of the 2019–20 season — not just a challenging year for live basketball, but for humanity. Apart from the suspension of his sport due to the pandemic, the young point guard must grapple with a world utterly transformed by calls for racial justice. Guest stars include Carmelo Anthony, A’ja Wilson and more. Part Two drops June 17.
  • “C.O.G” features Hamilton star Jonathan Groff as young college dropout determined to suppress his homosexuality, who heads to Oregon, takes a job picking apples and, ultimately, finds religion.
  • “One Last Thing” stars Wendell Pierce (Jack Ryan and The Wire) as Dylan Derringer, a lonely dentist in Florida who is encouraged by his dental assistant Jaime, played by Joanne Froggatt (Downton Abbey), to reunite with his long-lost daughter Lucy brought to life by Jurnee Smollett-Bell (Friday Night Lights, Underground and Birds of Prey) after years apart, sending him on an eventful and ultimately life-changing journey of discovery.

 

Redbox Free Live TV Adds Crackle Content

Redbox May 27 announced it has teamed with Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment to add Crackle to its Redbox Free Live TV platform. At launch, the channel will feature programming such as “Cold Blood,” “Crown Vic,” “Grand Isle,” “Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story,” and “Playing With Power: The Nintendo Story,” among many other titles.

With nearly 100 channels, including three Redbox channels designed and programmed for movies, Free Live TV features a lineup of feature films and television, news, lifestyle, and sports entertainment programming. Free Live TV is available on Redbox.com, Roku, iOS and Android devices, Apple TV, Vizio Smart TVs, LG TVs, Xbox One and Chromecast.

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“The Crackle team is enthusiastic about partnering with Redbox, a brand that is so well known for convenient entertainment delivery,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement. “This agreement adds an important new consumer touchpoint for Crackle Plus on a very important FAST platform.”

Redbox says it delivers entertainment to 40 million customers across multiple entertainment windows, including packaged-media distribution, premium video-on-demand (PVOD), transactional VOD, ad-supported linear and on-demand (AVOD).

“As we continue to expand Free Live TV, we’re committed to creating a great experience for our customers with a range of entertainment available across their favorite devices,” said Jason Kwong, chief strategy and digital officer for Redbox.

Crackle Streaming Second Season of Ashton Kutcher’s ‘Going From Broke’ on May 20

Crackle Plus, one of the largest operators of streaming advertising-supported video-on-demand networks, May 6 announced inspirational guests and financial experts for season two of Crackle original award-winning series “Going From Broke.”

Executive produced by Ashton Kutcher and Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, the six-episode season is hosted by Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig and entrepreneur and financial expert Tonya Rapley. “Going From Broke” premieres on Crackle on May 20 with new episodes launching each Thursday.

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In the series, six new cast members drowning in massive personal debt get help from guests and financial experts to overcome their financial struggles. Guests include executive producer Ashton Kutcher; Airbnb co-founder and CEO Brian Chesky; co-founder of Resy, Empathy Wines and VaynerX Gary Vaynerchuk; actor David Costabile (Lincoln, “Billions,” “Breaking Bad”), entrepreneur, investor and author Kim Perell, Andi Kirkegaard of Kirkie Cookies, and The Scholarship System founder Jocelyn Paonita Pearson.

Financial experts include author/speaker Rachel Cruze of Ramsey Solutions; author and financial guru Lynn Richardson; founder and CEO of Financially Wise Brittney Castro; Reverend DeForest Blake “Buster” Soaries Jr.; and School of Rock president and CEO Rob Price.

“Season two of ‘Going From Broke’ dives deep into the nationwide student debt crisis, and audiences will see firsthand how the financial experts and inspirational guests offer helpful solutions for those who struggle with financial burdens,” Jeff Meier, head of programming for Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

“Debt is weighing Americans down, and student loans are the fastest-growing type of debt out there. Young people are pressing pause on their dreams like buying a home or even getting married because of their student loan debt,” said Rachel Cruze, personal finance expert with Ramsey Solutions.

Season one of “Going From Broke” is currently available to stream for free exclusively on Crackle and has generated more than 18 million streams. To learn more about the show and to follow the journey of the cast please visit GoingFromBroke.info and use #GoingFromBroke.

Philo Adds Crackle, Bloomberg TV Content

Online TV serivce Philo April 20 announced it is adding ad-supported Crackle, owned and operated by Crackle Plus, to its platform. Philo is also adding Bloomberg TV and Revry. Bloomberg TV gives viewers live access to the latest news in business, markets and technology, and Revry brings the first global streaming network focused on the LGBTQ community.

“Philo offers affordable TV content to their fast growing audience and we are thrilled to give them full access to Crackle’s library of Hollywood blockbusters and classic TV shows, as well as a growing collection of original and exclusive content not available on any other platforms, such as ‘Going From Broke,’ which will launch a second season on May 20,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

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Philo’s subscription package includes more than 60 live channels and 60,000 current on-demand offerings for $20 per month. Earlier this month, Philo partnered with T-Mobile to offer Philo for $10 per month to all T-Mobile and Sprint postpaid subscribers.

“The addition of new content from Crackle, as well as Bloomberg TV and Revry, further highlights Philo’s commitment to provide our customers with the best TV viewing experience at a great value,” said Mike Keyserling, COO and head of content acquisition at Philo. “We’re glad to be able to add these incredible channels to our robust line-up of programming for Philo viewers.”

 

News Analysis: AVOD Upping Content Game

As subscription streaming services HBO Max and Paramount+ prep lower-cost, ad-supported consumer options, free ad-supported platforms are entering the original content arena and targeting a growing audience that eschews pay-TV and is not interested in substituting the cable bill with multiplying SVOD fees.

Pluto TV, the AVOD unit owned by Paramount’s corporate parent ViacomCBS, is eyeing a cross-pollination of original content migrating between its 22 million average monthly viewers and SVOD Paramount+. Fox Corp.’s Tubi is eyeing funding lower-budget original movies and TV shows. The platform saw viewership jump 58% in 2020, including 33 million average monthly viewers throughout the fourth quarter. More importantly, viewers consumed 750 million hours of content in the second quarter, which was 70% higher than the previous corresponding period.

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CFO Steve Tomsic told a recent Wall Street investor group Tubi represents the “broadening of the future” for network television, and said he would consider original programing in an attempt to increase ad revenue, which is expected to reach $300 million this year and $1 billion annually in the near term.

“It’s often these really cost-effective titles that a lot of the viewership resides in,” Tomsic said, adding that Fox content assets such as “The Masked Singer” are being co-distributed on Tubi to give the platform an “extra special” edge, and the platform more “breadth” in terms of content.

“Don’t expect us to invest in really meaningful ways in terms of scripted entertainment dramas that come with huge price tags and are really difficult to make work out of the economics of broadcast television,” Tomsic said.

Meanwhile, Roku, which helped co-launch the SVOD market in 2008 with Netflix, is eyeing original content for The Roku Channel, the company’s branded AVOD platform. As of the fourth quarter of 2020, Roku reported 51.2 million monthly active users in the U.S. This figure is the company’s highest-ever active quarterly user total.

To keep those eyeballs returning, Roku is beginning to dip its toes in original programming. The platform March 19 launches “Cypher,” an FBI series featuring seven, one-hour episodes and available free to viewers of The Roku Channel. The AVOD will also become the exclusive destination for more than 75 premium shows and documentaries acquired from short-lived SVOD platform Quibi.

March 18, Roku announced it would kickoff the IAB’s official 2021 NewFronts Lineup on May 3 as the week’s first presenter to media buyers.

“We’ve seen first-hand the role that TV streaming has played in consumers and marketers lives in the last year,” Alison Levin, VP of global ad revenue and marketing solutions at Roku, said in a statement. “Roku is thrilled to kick-off the first presentation at IAB NewFronts once again this year and looks forward to sharing how marketers can buy TV like you watch TV.”

In February, AVOD service Crackle Plus announced that production had begun on season two of its original series “Going From Broke,” the unscripted show spotlighting the financial epidemic of student loan debt executive produced by Ashton Kutcher and hosted by Chegg CEO Dan Rosensweig.

Crackle corporate parent Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment operates several ad-supported streaming services (PopcornFlix, Frightpix, faith-based Truli, Espannolflix), with an eye on streaming original and under-the-radar programming to a growing user base.

Michael Pachter, media analyst with Wedbush Securities in Los Angeles, says the AVOD market offers programmers and advertisers two options: lower-priced subscription plans such as $5.99 Hulu and pending HBO Max and Paramount+. These AVOD editions are typically limited to delivering no more than three to four minutes of ads per hour. By comparison, completely free platforms such as Tubi, Pluto TV, Amazon’s IMDb TV and Crackle can advertise as much as 10 to 12 minutes per hour.

“There’s room for both business models,” Pachter said in an email. “[Crackle buys] produced content for exclusive streaming windows. Really innovative.”

Crackle+ AVOD Service Announces Original Lennox Lewis Boxing Doc

Crackle Plus, the ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) service owned by Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment, Oct. 6 announced the premiere of original documentary Lennox Lewis: The Untold Story, launching on Oct. 15.

The doc follows the three-time world heavyweight boxing champion as he defied the odds on an inspiring journey to become one of the most decorated boxers in history. Narrated by Dr. Dre, the documentary features never-before-seen footage from Lewis’ personal archives, extensive interviews with Lewis and some of his greatest competitors, including Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Evander Holyfield.

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“We know our audience will appreciate Lennox’s passion and determination to overcome the obstacles he’s faced and reach his dreams both in and out of the ring,” Richard De Croce, SVP of programming at Crackle Plus, said in a statement.

Other original titles found on Crackle include Spides, Corporate Animals, Blue Iguana, Anything is PossibleThe Serge Ibaka StoryRoad to Race Day, On PointCleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters, The Clearing, “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and “Going From Broke,” recently picked up for a second season.

From a modest and challenging upbringing to an Olympic Gold medal and reign as undisputed heavyweight champion, Lewis’ story is one of redemption and forgiveness and the perseverance and strength needed to overcome obstacles. The doc is written by Josh Dubin and Seth Koch, and produced by Rick Lazes, Nick Koshoff and Tom DeNucci.

“The documentary delivers a powerful message and I am so glad we were able to tell this story,” said Lewis. “For anyone watching who feels they can’t make it in life, I am proof that you can.” 

Crackle is available in the U.S. and can be accessed on 26 devices and services including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain.

Crackle Plus Launching Original Sci-Fi Thriller ‘Spides’

Advertising-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) network Crackle Plus on Sept. 3 announced the U.S. premiere of original series “Spides,” launching on Sept. 17.

The series stars Rosabell Laurenti Sellers (“Game of Thrones”) as a young woman who wakes from a coma after taking a mysterious drug alongside Falk Hentschel (“Legends of Tomorrow,” “Marvel’s Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D.”) and Florence Kasumba (Avengers, Black Panther) as local police detectives. The series also stars Damian Hardung (“Name of the Rose”), Désirée Nosbusch (“Bad Banks”), Susanne Wuest (Perfume) and Aleksandar Jovanovic (“Tatort,” “Doctor Who”).

Set in modern-day Berlin, the eight-part series originally broadcast on Syfy follows Nora (Sellers) who falls into a coma after taking an unknown drug and wakes with no memory of her previous life. Meanwhile, local police detectives David Leonhart (Hentschel) and Nique Navar (Kasumba) work to track down the drug in connection to dozens of missing teenagers. In Nora’s quest to discover what happened to her, she uncovers a conspiracy of aliens who are using a synthetic drug to infiltrate humans to use as host bodies.

In addition to “Spides,” Crackle original and exclusive titles include “Corporate Animals,” “Blue Iguana,” “Anything is Possible — The Serge Ibaka Story,” “Road to Race Day,” “On Point,” “Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters,” “The Clearing,” “Crown Vic,” “’85: The Greatest Team in Football History,” “Wonders of the Sea,” “Yelawolf: A Slumerican Life,” and “Going From Broke,” which was recently picked up for a second season.

Spides is distributed in the United States by Screen Media, a Chicken Soup for the Soul Entertainment company, and the supplier of exclusive and original content for Crackle Plus. 

“We are delighted to add ‘Spides’ to Crackle’s slate of original programming,” Philippe Guelton, president of Crackle Plus, said in a statement. “Our audience loves the sci-fi genre and this thrilling series will not disappoint.”

Crackle, which is minority-owned by Sony Pictures, can be accessed on 26 devices and services, including Amazon FireTV, RokuTV, Apple TV, Smart TVs (Samsung, LG, Vizio), gaming consoles (PS4 and XBoxOne), Plex, iOS and Android mobile devices and on desktops at Crackle.com. Crackle is also available in approximately 500,000 hotel rooms in the Marriott Bonvoy chain.